Exit Menu

Corporate Heritage Brands/Corporate Brand Orientation

This is a rare opportunity to be supervised by Professor John M.T. Balmer (the well-known corporate identity, branding, corporate marketing and corporate brand heritage scholars) who holds a personal chair in Corporate Marketing at Brunel Business School London and who co-created the corporate heritage brand notion as well as being the originator of the corporate brand orientation notion. He is interested in well-qualified and hard-working candidates who are interested in taking a PhD in corporate marketing one of the above areas. He is open to PhD proposals which (a) focus on the nature/implementation of a corporate brand ethos and as an institutional-wide culture or (b) which advance our theoretical understanding of corporate brand orientation as an organizational-wide ethos.

Candidates should hold a good first degree in a relevant subject area and, ideally, should have a good MSc degree in marketing/branding. Candidates should have excellent writing skills and should be self-motivated. A preference will be given to students who will be using qualitative/inductive methodologies but deductive approaches may also be considered

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

Meet the Supervisor(s)


John Balmer - Professor John M.T. Balmer BA (Hons). MBA (Dunelm), PhD, A.Mus.TCL, Dip.M, PGCE holds a personal chair as Professor of Corporate Marketing.    - Recognized as one of the world's top 2% of influential scholars (in a study of more than 100.000 scholars undertaken by  Stanford University), his published work has been cited more than 28,000 times and he has a google h-index of 63 and an i-10 index of 125. Currently, he has in excess of 400,000 reads on ResearchGate. On 25 occassions since March 2020 he achieved the greatest number of reads on Researchgate of any academic working at Brunel University London: (w/e  16 January, 2022: 1469reads). Furthermore, in most weeks, he has the greatest number of reads among Business School faculty. - Sometimes regarded as the "Father" of the corporate brand concept (1995), he also pioneered the corporate marketing, corporate heritage brand/identity, total corporate communications, monarchical marketing, ethical corporate identity.corporate marketing notions and, penned the first academic articles in these aforementioned areas. Also co-conceived the corporate heritage brand/corporate brand with a heritage notions and was the originator of the corporate heritage identity and corporate brand orienation notions. Often recognised for his seminal work in making a distinction between corporate image and corporate reputation in his single authored article in Journal of Marketing Management (1998) and in his co-authored Long Range Planning article (1998). After a first degree from the University of Reading, and after a period of postgraduate study  at The University of Durham  in education (University College), he spent a short time as a teacher and then as Assistant Adminstrator of Lord Menuhin's concert agency (Live Music Now). This was followed by several years as a senior manager of a major arts complex. Subsequently undertook further postgraduate studies, this time focussing on business administration (MBA) at Durham University (Collingwood College). Appointed to give recommendations apropos the British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC Scotland)  corporate identity as a research assistant at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the University of Strathclyde and, subsequently, appointed  as a  lecturer in marketing at Strathclyde Business School. Professor Balmer took his PhD (Strathclyde University) in 1996, and within three years of his PhD graduation was elected to a personal chair as Professor of Corporate Identity at Bradford University School of Management. He subsequently was conferred the title of Professor of Corporate Brand/Identity Management in the same University in recognition of his seminal scholarship on both territories. In a similar vein, in 2007, he joined the faculty at Brunel University London where he was appointed to a personal chair as Professor of Corporate Marketing. His three Professorial positions are understood to be the first full Professorial appointments of their kind. Thus Professor Balmer has the unique distinction of holding the first full professorships in corporate branding, corporate identity, corporate brand/identity management. and corporate marketing. Since the early 1990s, he has been a leading proponent, and tireless advocate, of the strategic importance of corporate identity, corporate brand management, and of corporate marketing, He also popularised the coporate heritage field. Professor Balmer is known for his seminar articles on the above areas. He is also recognised for his work on the British Monarchy (and monarchies generally);, the BBC, British Airways and for his ACID Test of corporate brand/corporate identity management. As a lecturer at Strathclyde University, in the early 1990s he led the first branding excercise of the University which led to the common use of a heraldic shield along with the naming of the University's city campus "The John Anderson Campus" in honour of the institution's founder. Subsequently, he conceived and oversaw the corporate brand positioning of the University of Strathclyde including having oversight for the process involved in the introduction of a full achievement of arms and motto ("Useful Learning") from the Court of the Lord Lyon at the time of the University of Strathclyde's bi-centenary celebrations in 1996.He also had oversight of a special Congregation of the University (including ceremonial arrangements and music) during which the Letters Patent granting a full coat of arms was presented to the University's Chancellor by one of the Queen's heralds. His collaborative ground-breaking study of the Swedish Monarchy - where access, over several years, was granted to Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden and members of the Royal Family -  is also notable and led to a series of recommendations. His continued interest in monarchies as corporate brands has resulted in several articles on the territory. Additionally, he has contributed to articles published in The New York Times and the leading German newspaper Die Welt and has been approached by the Australian public service broadcaster ABC for their documentary on the Royal Family. A long-time partnership with Professor Stephen A Greyser (Harvard Business School) resulted in many publications including the landmark book  "Revealing the Corporation" (Routledge: 2002).  Professor Balmer  has published in many leading journals - often as a sole or as a lead-author  -including  California Management Review, British Journal of Management, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Business Ethics,   Long Range Planning,  Marketing Theory, Information Technology & People, International Studies of Management and Organization,  Journal of Marketing Management. Journal of General Management, Journal of Brand Management etc. He is Quondam Professor of Corporate Brand/Identity Management at Bradford School of Management and is a Visiting Professor at the school. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Senior Consultant Editors of the Journal of Brand Management, and sits on the senior advisory board of the Journal of Product & Brand Management.  In 2017 Professor Balmer was invited by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (editor: Professor Sir David Cannadine) to pen the authoritative  biographical essay of Wally Olins (1930-2014) - doyen of the corporate identity/brand consultancy industry (OUP: 2018). His books include "Revealing the Corporation" (co-authored with Stephen A. Greyser, Routledge, 2003); "Foundations of Corporate Heritage" (Routledge, 2016);  "Advances in Corporate Branding" (co-edited with Dr Shuan Powell,  Professor  Joachim Kernstock & Professor Tim Brexendorf, Palgrave, 2017); "Advances in Chinese Brand Management" (co-edited with Weifeng Chen, Palgrave, 2017); "Contemporary Perspectives on Corporate Marketing" (co-edited with Professor Laura Illia & Allmudena de Valle Brena, Routledge, 2013); and "Contemplating Corporate Marketing, Identity & Communication" (co-edited with Professor Klement Podnar, Routledge, 2010). Since the early 1990s,Professor Balmer has an unrivaled provenance  as a guest editor/joint guest editor of over 25 special editions/symposia of academic journals focussed on corporate branding, identity, corporate marketing and corporate heritage themes etc. for the British Journal of Management, Journal of Business Ethics, California Management Review, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Business Ethics, Industrial Marketing Marketing,  International Studies of Management and Organizations, Journal of Brand Management, Journal of Product and Brand Management etc He also appears to have the distinction of guest editing the first-ever special editions on corporate brands, corporate identity, corporate marketing and corporate heritage. Arguably, these special editions have greatly facilitated the establishment of a distinct canon in the corporate brand, corporate identity, corporate marketing and, more recently, corporate heritage domains. He is the Founder, Chairman, and Conference organiser of the International Corporate Identity Group (ICIG). With an international reach, the ICIG's aim is to advance awareness, scholarship and the dissemination of best practice in the corporate identity, corporate brand and corporate marketing territories. Established in 1994, an ICIG symposium has been held in most years at prominent seats of learning since then within  the UK but also in  Denmark, Malaysia,South Africa, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland etc. The 22nd Symposium (2022) - it is anticipated - is being organised in association with the University of Rome (Tor Vergata). Additionally, he is also the Founder, Chairman  and Conference Organiser of the International Symposium on Corporate Heritage, History and Nostalgia (which has analogous aims to the ICIG) and has organised/co-organised an annual symposium which has been held in Finland, France, Sweden as well as the UK and is the first symposium of its kind internationally.. Professor Balmer is  is a consummate, and well-known, educationalist and PhD supervisor. In 2021 he was formally commended by the Dean for his exemplary teaching. He conceived and developed the . MBA, MSc, and BA (Honours) electives in corporate identity/corporate branding and corporate marketing at Strathclyde Business School (where he was the Director of the International Centre for Corporate Identity Studies) and at Bradford School of Management and has also did the same apropos corporate marketing courses at postgraduate and undergraduate levels. Notably he also ran executive-level MBA electives on corporate marketing for organisations such as the BBC, and Emirates Airways at Bradford School of Management From 2010-2020 he was the Director of the Marketing & Corporate Brand Research Centre/Group at Brunel University and  was the first Director of the landmark MSc in Corporate Brand Management at Brunel Business School and oversaw the development and introduction of the MSc in Applied Corporate Brand Management at Brunel Business School London. (This is the first course of its kind in the world). In 2022 he will lead a new postgraduate elective on corporate brand heritage  which, again, is believed to be a world first. In addition, he is on the editorial boards of The European Journal of Marketing, Journal of General Management, Corporate Reputation Review and Corporate Communications: An International Journal and, formally, Journal of Marketing Management.  He has served as a reviewer for The British Academy and for research proposals of various overseas grant-awarding academic bodies. He is an External Assessor to the Department of Marketing at the University of Malaya which is viewed as Malaysia's premier university. He is also a Visiting Professor at the National University of Malaysia (Kuala Lumpar).He has also served as a assessor for the appointment of a Professor of Marketing at the University of Alaska, USA.  Of the 10 most cited articles in the European Journal of Marketing: two are by Professor Balmer (one single and one jointly-authored article) viz: "Corporate identity, corporate branding and corporate marketing: seeing through the fog" and "Corporate brands: What are they? What of them?" Additionally, his single-authored article, "Corporate identity and the advent of corporate marketing" is the 10th most cited article in the Journal of Marketing Management.